VA Election: Divide and Conquer
Kilgore's Ads Make No One Look Good (Washington Post)
"Few Virginians put the death penalty, abortion, guns or gay adoption even close to the top of their concerns, yet those issues are at the heart of Kilgore's campaign."
Heading into the homestretch of a close but somewhat sleeper gubernatorial race (the only other off-peak election is in NJ), Jerry Kilgore has been blessed with an enormous Republican war chest, raised by little volunteer RNC helpers like Karl Rove and Mr. Bush. Add to that, Jerry's resounding refusal to not go negative in the last weeks of the campaign, and you have the makings of state politics writ-large.
Jerry was on the wrong side of local decisions to open a day-laborer site in Herndon. But the national uproar helped fuel his stand. And while Marc Fisher of the WPOST observes that the top concerns of Virginians, especially Northern VA residents are issues of fiscal discipline and transportation, you'd be surprised how Jerry's "tough on crime" demeanor plays to supporters.
And that's what's truly horrifying to me as a resident and voter. Jerry's simplistic Attorney General style believes criminals ought to be punished and those who take innocent life and leave behind scarred victims have no share in his "culture of life" view. But I have a hard time squaring this bravado with his waffling position on abortion. So much so, that in the final Gubernatorial Debate this past week, Jerry seemed to think that people who seek abortion are taking a life, so presumably they also are deserving of this vengeful ire. Imagine, from the doctor's office to death row?
Fisher's article gives credence to the Republican game plan of divide and conquer. Paint Tim Kaine as different than Mark Warner over the death penalty and disrupt his claims to be Warner's logical successor. I don't doubt the difficulties in pulling that off, but I am not as certain as Fisher that this issue isn't a red-herring, but really is red meat for at least the voters in my district.
We shall find out on election day if VA's flag waves blue or red. For now, I stand appalled at the strength and conviction it takes to say: I want to punish and kill more people than my opponent. That just makes me see red.